To rank well for chosen keyword phrases, things need to occur externally to the website and to take place on the website itself. The next 3 things are still the major ones in 2020.
- The website pages need relevant, quality and original content.
- Backlinks from other websites and other mentions of the brand or business need to accumulate naturally on relevant websites.
- There needs to be activity, in the form of recent updates to the website and people visiting it.
Google checks over 200 things as best we can tell, in ordering their search results. The balance has shifted back to more weight on the website content and less on external links back to the website from other websites.
Google is the top search engine because it provides such incredible search results. It does it by assessing the relevance of pages to the phrases that are typed. The majority of the following things should be done on a website to allow the search engines to make correct keyword associations.
- Each main keyword phrase the website is being ranked for should have it’s own page on the website. Research is needed to locate terms with high search volumes that the website has best chance of appearing on page one for.
- The keywords should be a part of the page-address. ie: www.business.com/keyword-phrase.
- The title and content of the page should be closely on-topic with the selected keyword – synonyms are good. Not always, and depending on the niche, the page probably needs 500 words or more about the subject.
- The content of the page must be original. Real people will be reading it and as well, Google updated their searches in March 2011 to penalise duplicate content. Since 2015 it’s more important than ever that page content is original, relevant and good quality.
- From a conversion viewpoint page copy should contain a call to action to either contact you, or make a sale.
Backlinks are links from other websites, that when clicked take you to the website being ranked.
They are built up using comments on other websites, building other sites, submitting online press releases, submitting articles to article directories, publishing videos, podcasts, PDFs and a bunch of other things.
It needs to appear natural and gets done on a gradient, so the first several weeks start off getting a low number of good-quality links, then the next month moving into several hundred, and on from there. These links will generate traffic in themselves, as well as helping to move the site up in the search results.
When disseminating information about and links back to a page, it’s best to avoid over-use of the keyword phrase in the links back to that page.
This includes, visitors arriving on the website and staying there a while ( without bouncing off ) & updates to and increasing number of pages on the website. I’ve had a lot of pages on other websites move higher after running paid adds to them.
The June 2010 update, called “Caffeine”, increased the search speed and began taking into account website activity. Google is evolving and regularly refines the rules it uses to order the search results.
The way that’s working best for marketers at present is to maintain a blog on the site. This also builds up the number of pages and amount of content, which are further ranking factors. A blog can be things like recent new, events or technical tips.
Our 5-step process
Most SEO agencies have developed & follow similar steps to ours.
We check your business, your current marketing actions, identify your target audience, and the competitors who are currently ranking well for the keyword phrases that you want to rank well for.
The main points that need to be looked at to produce useful traffic are …
- Relevant search phrases for your businesses services that have a good volume of searches.
- Phrases where commercial intention is indicated ( or sometimes, intention to find a solution to a problem ).
- Can your website beat the competing websites already on page one for these phrases.
Based on the competition in your niche, we plan out the strategy for the next few months : what needs to take place with the website and externally.
this involves correctly structuring the website and making sure that the content of each page is relevant for the keyword phrase it’s targeting. It also takes into account technical issues with the website such as loading speed and crawlability.
Investigating your website’s digital footprint and that of your competitors in the audit tells us how other websites refer to you. The job now is to ensure we create a natural and balanced off-page profile for your website. The last year has seen the balance of off-page and on-page factors swing back more to on-page content and structure. But links to and mentions of your site around the web are still a major contributor to good search result positions.
Watching progress / analytics
As well as an indication of progress, tracking how website pages respond to the actions that are taken produces better results by …
- Allowing you to “kill” work on phrases that just don’t budge !
- Helping you identify other phrases that are moving well and should be concentrated on.
- Locating further useful phrase that may not have been thought of initially.